I assess the feasibility of multi-variate scaling relationships to estimate glacier volume from glacier inventory data. Scaling laws are calibrated against volume observations optimized for the specific purpose of estimating total global glacier ice volume. I find that adjustments for continentality and elevation range improve skill of area-volume scaling. These scaling relationships are applied to each record in the Randolph Glacier Inventory which is the first globally complete inventory of glaciers and ice caps. I estimate that the total volume of all glaciers in the world is 0.35±0.07 m sea level equivalent, including ice sheet peripheral glaciers. This is substantially less than a recent state-of-the-art estimate. Area volume scaling bias issues for large ice masses, and incomplete inventory data are offered as explanations for the difference.
Citation: Grinsted, A. (2013): An estimate of global glacier volume, The Cryosphere, 7, 141–151, doi:10.5194/tc-7-141-2013
More details on the study can be found under this link where I discuss:
- Comparisons to Radic and Hock 2010, and Huss & Farinotti 2012.
- Area-volume scaling and glacier slope.
- Physical vs. statistical estimates of glacier volume.
- Area-Volume scaling, -controversial?
Thoughts on my experience with the open discussion format
This is my first open discussion paper, and I think it was an excellent choice for this manuscript. It is also my first solo paper and the comments from the referees were therefore especially welcome. (Thank you anon.referee#1, R. Braithwaite, and M.Huss for comments that spurred great improvement over the discussion paper).
This figure shows that ~85% of the global glacier volume is stored in~1000 largest RGI glacier complexes (>100 km2). In the paper I suggest that we can improve the glacier estimate through detailed studies of those complexes.